The Best External Hard Drive for Xbox One

Thanks to monthly free game downloads via Xbox Live Gold, the measly 500 GB internal hard drive on my Xbox One was filling up. I needed to either delete some stuff or get more storage, so I opted for an external hard drive for extra storage. My plan was to put all the free and/or downloaded stuff on the external and keep commercial disc-based games on the internal.

I read a few articles on what to get and they weren’t very helpful. One site, which I won’t bother linking to, carefully explained that the external drive must be powered, then provided a list of recommended drives – none of which were powered. WTF? In case you don’t know the difference, some external hard drives come with AC adapters and others get their power directly from the USB port. I wanted to make sure about compatibility and was reluctant to get a USB powered drive out of fear that it may be too slow or cause problems with the Xbox One.

After some research and reading user reviews, I opted for the Western Digital 1TB Elements Portable USB 3.0 drive. It’s USB powered and features a small laptop-sized drive just like what’s already inside the console. Several reviewers commented that they bought it for their own XBox One and it worked perfectly, plus I caught it on sale for fifty bucks, so I bought one.

Installation of the drive is as simple as plugging it into the side USB port on the console. It will detect the drive and ask you to format it, which takes less than a minute. After that, you just go into the Game & Apps menu, then go to Manage Game and move your games to the external. You have to do it one at a time but it goes pretty quick. Even the 20+ GB games move in about 5 minutes.

I didn’t notice any real difference in performance between games stored internally or on the external drive. World of Tanks and Neverwinter Nights, both of which are large free games, loaded in the same amount of time. Some people have written that they thought their games loaded faster but I couldn’t tell any difference.

The bottom line – I tripled the storage capacity of my Xbox One for fifty bucks and it works great. Bring on more free downloads!


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